Procrastinating is perhaps the opposite of motivation. We do anything to avoid the task at hand, even those other jobs we’ve been putting off. We like to accomplish our tasks at completely different times to when we should. As we don’t always have the luxury of being able to live a life free of the tasks we never want to do, here are a few reminders and tips for the times when we feel like procrastinating:
- We have a strange idea that procrastinating will alleviate all the negative emotions we are feeling about a task. But in truth, delaying work won’t make what we need to get done disappear and it won’t be any better when we actually do it. Procrastinating does not help stress or pressure, it only buries it and makes it worse. And when we procrastinate there is always an underlying guilt instead of pleasure.
- Another reason why we might procrastinate is because we think that the perfect time will eventually present itself. But, most of the time, there is no ‘right’ time and motivation and inspiration don’t always come to us. Sometimes it is up to us to find it or create it.
- Starting is the hardest part; it’s much easier to keep going than get going. Sometimes we just have to trick ourselves into doing something, and once we start, we’ll find that we’re perfectly happy to carry on.
- We mostly procrastinate to get away from something we dread: the overwhelming, the boring, the long tasks:
- Re-evaluate our work process: nothing will make you want to procrastinate more if you have five hours of straight work planned. Introduce regular breaks; try 15 minutes every 2 hours, for example. Then, we know when we can reward ourselves with our procrastination destinations, but at the right time.
- Break down the tasks into smaller tasks and write down when you’ll do them and your personal deadlines – this way, they are not as overwhelming, they will be more organised and to the point, and you’ll feel like you’re accomplishing more without doing more.
- Finally, and most obviously, free yourself from distraction, because sometimes procrastination is just habit. Close down all unnecessary browsers and applications: Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, Facebook, whatever it is that you always find yourself gravitating towards. Turn off your email notifications. Put your phone in another room or turn it off. Put your headphone in a draw. Switch up your location; nobody wants to get caught doing what they shouldn’t at the library or office, for example.
How do you stop procrastinating? Leave your tips in the comments below!